Ozzie & Harriet

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by -, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer
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    From a fan's perspective, Gene Autry was perhaps the best model. He left no children to support, and a few hundred million dollars to carry on his legacy so all of his films and tv shows were restored. The amount Sam Nelson is requesting on the online donation website is only $10,000. I don't think it is unreasonable to ask fans to kick in something for a show that is not going to be a big money maker. I wish Linda Kaye Henning would take a similar interest in The Beverly Hillbillies. I still worry Mr. Nelson hasn't thought through all the issues involved with his project.
     
  2. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    Now wait a minute! Linda Kaye Henning was of great help with the MPI DVDs of the public domain shows a few years back, before CBS/Paramount finally released the B/W episodes (they have yet to go into the color 1965-71 shows). She did interviews and hosted onscreen both the MPI sets for Beverly Hillbillies and her own show Petticoat Junction. If you want to complain, complain to Paramount, not to Ms. Henning!
     
  3. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    Why? Maybe because he tried and he couldn't give the show away. When they put 200 episodes into syndication, the show was bought in fewer than ten markets. Other than the run on Disney when few people had cable and fewer still got the Disney Channel, no one has had any interest in airing the show. Hell, even Nick at Nite and CBN in their heydays of running classic 50s shows didn't go after it.
     
  4. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    To transfer from the original negatives, which each show is on 6 reels, will cost a minimum of several hundred dollars each. That's with no cleanup or restoration, just a straight transfer from the existing elements. To actually do it right would cost more. Times 435, do the math. No, we're not talking Universal and their ridiculous $5,000 an episode but it ain't costing $150 either.
     
  5. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    That only proves to me how pathetic the general viewing public is. The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet is not only a classic TV series, it's a part of Americana and if people today don't want to see it, that's their loss. I hope that somehow this project comes to fruition. I'm not sure how it will all pan out so I'm not going to get my hopes up to high, but I'm all for what Sam Nelson is trying to do.


    Gary "anyone that can't appreciate the humor in that show is a few fries short of a happy meal" O.
     
    Ron1973 and Everett Stallings like this.
  6. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    There's no disputing the importance or quality of the series. It is an American classic. Unfortunately, the show has been seriously mistreated, from Ozzie's neglecting to register the episodes for copyright, to when it was first offered for syndication them going with a rinky dink syndicator (All-American Television) rather than with one of the top tier ones. When's the last time it aired in your market? In mine, the only places it aired were on TBS & Disney in the early 80s, long before cable came to where I lived. Never was sold to any of my local stations. It never had network daytime reruns as many other series did. And in the mid-80s, when CBN and Nick and Nite seemed to be resurrecting just about every black and white series they could get their hands on, neither bought O&H. No, there is no disputing how pathetic the viewing public is. That's why a truly great show like Room 222 died on the vine. Or why other great series, like The Defenders for instance, languish in the vaults. I actually think the massive amount of episodes hurts the show. That's why when it finally did go into syndication originally they cut the package to 200. No station wants that many shows. That's why Donna Reed got cut to 175, why Bonanza was cut to 260 and why Gunsmoke is divided into 3 separate packages. If O&H had a normal run, lets say 5-7 years, I think it would have fared much better after going off ABC. That, and if "brilliant" businessman, Ozzie, bothered to copyright the thing.
    By the way, in the unlikely event that they put this out in one gigantic box set, the list price would probably be around $500. Half the people on HTF bitch if something lists for $39.99. How would they feel about that?
     
  7. Guest

    Why don't we just wait and see what happens without all this ridiculous conjecture about how much this is going to cost Sam? Perhaps he has industry access to a Rank machine to do the transfers. I don't know...you don't know. So it would probably wise to see just how it goes. Also, I do film transfer work and many times well stored materials need very little preparation except maybe a light cleaning before transfer. Hopefully, that is the case here.
     
  8. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    I completely agree that the show suffered in syndication, in large part, because it ran for so long (435 episodes is a huge amount). There's just no doubt that stations don't want to commit to episode numbers like the ones from Ozzie & Harriet. But no matter how or why the show didn't get the play many other b/w series did in the 80's/90's, I still say it's absolutely brilliant and it's easily in my Top 10 sitcoms of all time. Anyone who can watch the uncut version of "Tutti-Frutti Ice Cream" and not come away impressed is just ... Well, I won't finish that sentence but you get the point.


    Gary "if a complete, solid quality, uncut set became available and $500 was the price point, I'd find a way to make it happen - fortunately I doubt it would be priced that high" O.
     
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  10. Steve...O

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    I still wish Sam and the Nelson family the best of success with this, but continue to hope they're not underestimating the cost of this. $130 per episode just isn't realistic. In addition to Danny's comments above, I found the following posted on the Steve Hoffman forums by Marc Wielage who works in the industry:




     
  11. Gary OS

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    Yep, Steve. As much as I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything will work out, it really does seem like way too small an amount for all those episodes. All I can do is sit back and hope that somehow this last holy grail of mine comes to fruition one way or the other.


    Gary "is there a difference between just transferring the tapes to digital vs any type of real restoration and/or clean up?" O.
     
  12. Guest

    Once again, I think we need to be careful when discussing the financing of this whole thing. As you can see from the interview below, at least some of the shows have already been transferred. We, outside of the project, really don't have enough information to fully know what's going on, i.e. the transfer arrangements, any silent partners that may be involved, etc. Full interview is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ragogna/chatting-with-emamerican_b_1010201.html
    MR: You're now cleaning up and getting the old episodes ready for release with a bunch that are already done. What's the cleanup process like...and you're using the Kickstarter paradigm, right?
    SN: That's exactly right. To back up a little bit, I'm co-trustee of the Ozzie and Harriet trust. I was with my Uncle David who just passed away and after he passed, I was given access to family vaults, and was able to go in and look at the vast generations of Nelson family material. It spanned radio, film, and television--an unbelievable amount of material. In that, I found the original episodes for the entire seasons--435 episodes and the finest quality, never before seen footage, behind the scenes footage, and interviews, all of that stuff that was just sitting there for years. Digging deeper, I noticed the materials were starting to deteriorate, so I tried to put my head together and figure out a way to start restoring and reviving. I did some research and talked to some friends, and they recommended a website called Kickstarter. Kickstarter is basically defined as the number one indie funding platform in the world for independent projects mainly based in arts and entertainment. Usually, they will take a new artist and newer project and try to acquire funding for it. There's a period, if you have a number in mind and you can get to that number or surpass it, you get to keep it at the end of the period. If you don't, you don't get anything, it's an all or nothing funding process...it's pretty incredible. (Note: Ozzie & Harriet Kickstarter Page)
    MR: Now, UCLA has come into the mix in the past when old movies, recordings, etc., have needed restoration and storage. Have they been involved with this project at all?

    SN: Yes, they're amazing. They aren't necessarily involved particularly in the restoration because of the amount of materials, but with regard to housing and preserving, they have been seminal and incredible. We're also dealing with The Library Of Congress in Washington D.C. to deal with the other portion of the materials. The issue too is that my grandfather was incredibly meticulous, and at the time, had multiple copies of the episodes. So, he would have three different copies of 35 millimeter fine grains just to have them. He would have three copies of 16 millimeter of the same episode, and he would have formats that don't even exist anymore like 35-32s. It was daunting to go into storage and figure out where to even start with it. Everybody has been incredibly helpful--UCLA, The Library Of Congress, and other resources in terms of housing and preserving and cleaning up. It's definitely been a full team effort. This Kickstarter thing is great because you can give the rest of the team--which is the people, the fans and the friends who love the show and haven't been able to help in any way--give them the opportunity to dive in and be a part of the process.
    MR: Now, with all of these being cleaned up, and because it's been out of circulation for so long, can Ozzie & Harriet be reintroduced to places like TV Land or even PBS stations because of the historic nature of that show?
    SN: Absolutely. To have this as a family asset is incredible. From a branding/marketing point of view, most companies spend their lives taking something that they built from nothing and try to have people recognize the name. With Ozzie & Harriet, you can go up to anybody in the street and ask, "Hey, do you know Ozzie & Harriet," and they go, "Yeah, I've heard of it." You ask, "Do you know what it is," and they have no idea, and you look at that and think that's incredible because it has such a weight to it. It's such a part of the American lexicon, it's such a part of Americana. It deserves the building of that foundation, and that's what my goal is...to build that foundation. People are aware of Ozzie & Harriet, and now it's about why it's important and let them be a part of that process.
     
  13. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    I think if you mentioned Ozzie and Harriet to anyone under 40 who was not a TV collector or historian, they wouldn't have heard of it or have the slightest idea what you were talking about.
     
  14. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    I think that's right, unfortunately. Time has marched on since the days that some of that generation might have been able to see shows from those days in syndication.
     
  15. Gary OS

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    After reading that latest interview that John Hermes shared with us just a few posts up, I'm inclined to agree with you. What I read in that article from Mr. Nelson makes me feel much, much better about my chances of seeing this thing happen!


    Gary "you definitely called the LITB set years ago when I thought it was dead and gone forever - here's hoping you've got the right 'vibe' again" O.
     
  16. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    TV Land? Really? Perhaps if the shows had been mastered to tape and available 15 or so years ago when TV Land started, maybe. Now? No chance in hell. Just from reading the interview you can see that neither the interviewer nor Nelson has a solid grasp on the current market for 60 year old TV programs. I would have liked to see 2 questions asked:
    1 - Why can't you and your family pay for this? and
    2 - How are you going to get around the fact that all of the shows are public domain and cannot be copyrighted unless something is changed? Even then, all they can copyright is the new version and any of the original material can be copied by whoever since all of the original shows are PD.
    If you want an example of how legitimate releases of PD shows sell, one needs to look no further than One Step Beyond. Great show, great CBS release from the original elements, poor sales. And that's a series that is far more popular and has way, way more exposure on television in the last few decades.
     
  17. Guest

    Why do you continue to be so upset about the Nelson family not footing this whole project? YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY A NICKEL. Since some of the episodes have been transferred, maybe the family paid for those? You don't see the people who contributed complaining, myself included. Nobody seems to care about this except you and maybe one or two others who are not being forced to contribute either. Read the comments on Sam's site and Facebook about how much people love this show and are happy to help.
    Being a public domain show may complicate matters and I don't know what they have planned as far as that goes. I bought the One Step Beyond release myself and it is excellent quality. I certainly don't feel it is "far more popular " than Ozzie & Harriet outside of the sci-fi cult crowd. I really don't know how much being a PD show hurt sales of that first season. Perhaps it didn't sell because it is so little known - far less than O&H in my opinion.
     
  18. Gary OS

    Gary OS Producer

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    I have to agree on the "far more popular" comment. There's no doubt Ozzie & Harriet haven't gotten the air time that other popular sitcoms from that era have. Shows like I Love Lucy, Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and My Three Sons (among others) certainly got far more run in syndication over the last 20 years. No question about it. But in spite of its limited run, I have a hard time believing One Step Beyond would be considered far more popular than Ozzie & Harriet on any level. Even with its limited exposure over the last 20 years, I'll bet dollars to dimes that if you took the average Joe off the street and ask them about both shows that Ozzie & Harriet would ring a bell far quicker than OSB. I can't imagine that would even be a close call. The name recognition factor has to be in favor of the Nelsons in that race.




    Gary "if this happens its going to be fantastic in my book - it will be a huge deal on the Vintage TV on DVD front" O.
     
  19. Steve...O

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    John, thanks for linking to the interview with Sam Nelson. It was a very entertaining read. Glad to read the nice things said about Mark Harmon.

    From that article it does appear that things are perhaps a bit further along than what the kickstarter video suggests. I hope that's the case because I want this to succeed for multiple reasons. My concerns about the amount needed to do this aren't because I don't support it, but rather I want this to be done "right" and in a manner befitting the inconic status of the series. Let's face it, Nick @ Nite/TV Land, etc. isn't going to pick up this series, so a high quality home video release is key to getting this show back in people's homes and hopefully creating new fans along the way.

    A thought has occured to me: Could this kickstarter thing be Sam's way of generating free publicity and to increase awareness among the younger consumers? Suppose the Nelson family has provided or otherwise secured funding for the $500k or whatever it would really take and is using these donations as a way to see what kind of interest there is and to create pre-release anticipation. For $130 a fan gets their name in the liner notes and will probably buy the complete series set. The donations can be used to appease the bankers who whoever is really bankrolling the project.
     
  20. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Cinematographer

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    Why are you saying that I'm upset? All I asked is why the interviewer wouldn't ask that most obvious question. Its called good journalism. I'm not a blind fan with no curiosity, sorry. And I'm sorry but after seeing this guy's picture, he doesn't strike me as being someone who I would look to for a project of this nature. Hey, I hope it happens but the reality of it suggests otherwise.
     

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